Did you know that Germany had video telephone service... in 1936?

Did you know that Germany had video telephone service... in 1936?
Video calls – a service that we take for granted today – have been imagined ever since the telephone took off. Visionaries from the late 1800s were confident that in the future, people would be able to both hear and see the person on the other side of the line. Technology, however, still had quite some advancing to do before video telephony could become something more than just a concept. Many years of research were needed until eventually, science fiction became science fact.

The first 2-way videophone service was launched on March 1, 1936 – 78 years ago. It was provided in Germany by the national post office and connected Berlin with Leipzig. Some 100 miles (160 kilometers) of broadband coaxial cable were used to deliver video calls between the two cities. Later on, the service was opened to the public, and additional lines connecting other major cities were added. 

Technically, Germany's videophone system was quite impressive of an invention for its time. Video was delivered at 25 frames per second on a cathode ray tube display. Its resolution of 172 rows, which made for a pixel count of about 40,000, is said to have been enough for one to discern the hands on a wristwatch. 

The service wasn't cheap, however. A three-minute call was priced at approximately one-fifteenth of the average weekly wage. It wasn't very convenient either. There were a couple of booths installed in each city. To use the videophone service, one had to make an appointment with the post office first. Also, the person they wanted to speak with had to be notified in advance. 

Unfortunately, Germany's videophone service didn't last long. Plans for extending the network were abandoned with the start of the Second World War. By 1940, the system was shut down. 


references: VSeeVideophone (Wikipedia)

FEATURED VIDEO

26 Comments

1. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Germans were and still are one of the best engineers in the world. They even build a stealth bomber during the 1940s, Horton Ho 29 Stealth Bomber. Kudos to those brainiacs.

4. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Yup. What many also don't (including me, until recently), is that the Americans achieved sooo much in their space program, through NASA, only because of the German scientists they forced to work for them, after their victory in World War II. They used the german V2 rocket design for their space program, as well as their ICBMS (nuke rockets). That and many others.

8. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

That's interesting.

24. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 2011

DId you also know a lot of these German Scientists were Nazi war criminals that never stood trial for their crimes in exchange for their work on US gov projects

5. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I'm surprised and impressed. 1936 was a big year for Germany (and Jesse Owens). The Berlin Olympics were televised -- a first -- via closed circuit. The use of German scientists by Russian and American governments beginning before WW II ended is well reported. NASA (and atomic testing) doesn't get as much attention as decades ago.

9. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

i did nazi this technology until now

11. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

They created the first Jetfighter planes and Night-vision for soldiers with assault rifles. And really, the list goes on and on. Google Wunderwaffe and be amazed!

14. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

first ballistic missile ,cruise missiles , first guided missile , remote controlled drones , flying wing bombers ,first jet powered bomber and of course the predecessor to the RPG and AK-47

22. Settings

Posts: 2942; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

The Germans invented the BEER! Or somewhat popularized it! Thats how important Germany is to me.

26. jos_031

Posts: 62; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

Oldest record was obtained from Mesopotamian civilization, But alcohol is injurious to health.

25. tuminatr

Posts: 1092; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Dont forget the use of nitrous oxide and methonol injection was used to speed up Luftwaffe. War is the mother of invention because its innovate or die literally. thehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM-1

2. DEATHSTROKE9

Posts: 399; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Germans.....

3. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Damn you German! You are technological advance, good at soccer, and have really good beers.... Damn you...

20. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Ah, then there are German women...

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

German technology is great.

7. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Germany and Japan FTW best countrues in the world with the smartest people!

10. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

heil to that

12. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

Anne Frankly, stop with the German Puns.

15. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

jew are right , i gas i better stop it

23. Settings

Posts: 2942; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Ich better to stop guys

13. diehardnokian

Posts: 147; Member since: Apr 27, 2014

i have always admired germans for the quality of cars they engineer. tough and solid!

16. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

germans are best at what they do. thats why they cant have an independent army.

17. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

germans are best at what they do. thats why they cant have an independent army.

18. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

As much as I would like to say something pro-German, if iDo, some pathetically bloated water-retaining bus driver with an inferiority complex will cry racism! Therefore, I must defer to the almighty Wotan and say long live 'za Fatherland! Hail!!

19. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

"ans for extending the network were abandoned with the start of the Second World War." Yes some bloodthirsty people defend wars as advancing technology. As if creating things to destroy and kill were advances in the right direction.

21. linaresx

Posts: 101; Member since: Jun 13, 2013

That’s that German efficiency, always coming up with a solution for everything.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.